Shoreline Family Dental Logo

Maria Hoekstra, D.D.S., F.A.G.D.
Jacqueline Anderson, D.D.S.
Thomas E. Anderson, D.D.S.

616-399-9520

Our Office Hours are:

Monday: 8am-5pm
Tuesday: 8am-5pm
Wednesday: 8am-5pm
Thursday: 8am-5pm
Friday: 7am-1pm

Bite Splints

Bite Splints, also known as Night Gaurds, are small mouthpieces that are primarily worn at night, however may be worn at any time of the day. They can be on the upper or lower teeth depending on the design. They can be made of a soft rubbery material or hard plastic. They work by opening the bite and realigning the TMJ, the jaw joint. This opening relaxes the TMJ and face muscles and equilibrates the bite, allowing side-to-side motion and further release of tension in the muscles. Some of these appliances also reposition the lower jaw forward bringing the TMJ into a better alignment.

The soft night guards are used in patients experiencing grinding or clenching at night. They cushion the bite and help relieve the stress in the muscles. The teeth are also protected from the grinding and wear that would normally occur. Stress is the primary cause of grinding and clenching.

The "orthotic" appliances are used in more severe derangements of the TMJ usually resulting from an accident or a blow to the jaw. These are made of hard plastic and reposition the lower jaw into a better alignment. This allows the muscles and tendons of the TMJ to relax and heal. These are the first line of defense and may need to be followed by surgical intervention.